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Transit workers and riders: We want to hear from you

Transit personnel and the essential workers riding transit to reach their jobs at hospitals and grocery stores are the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Elected officials need to hear what it’s like operating and riding transit in these conditions in order to provide more emergency funding. Please send us your story.  

Public transportation is essential, even and especially in the midst of a pandemic. Without transit, scores of essential personnel wouldn’t be able to get to work—that’s millions of healthcare, grocery, and other essential workers who are supporting the rest of us at home and saving lives.

As Congress considers another COVID-19 relief package, we know that transit agencies need more emergency operations funding to make sure that workers and riders are protected from the virus. Transit needs funding to protect their employees, maintain sufficient service to prevent crowding for people counting on it, and avoid layoffs and other dramatic actions that will cripple transit for years after this immediate threat. 

Your stories can empower our advocacy and push Congress to pass more emergency funding for transit. You can tell us your experience operating or riding transit using the form at the bottom of this post, email or tweet us a short video, or schedule a time to talk to us on the phone. 

Transit workers are putting their lives on the line 

Transit workers are at incredibly high risk of contracting COVID-19, but they don’t have to be with the right resources, such as PPE, sick pay, and requiring riders to wear masks. Bus drivers in particular are at a higher risk due to closer proximity to riders. Some transit agencies have started limiting boarding to the rear door and waiving fares to try and protect drivers, but this isn’t enough by itself and it compounds the financial strain on transit agencies. 

In addition, TransitCenter found that transit workers’ high risk of dying from COVID-19 is related to existing health inequities, as transit vehicle operators are more likely to be people of color or low-income. Race and income is a huge predictor of health outcomes. TransitCenter also found that frontline transit workers are more likely to not have health insurance than transit personnel who are able to work from home. 

This is unacceptable. Transit agencies need resources to keep workers and riders safe. Congress needs to pass more emergency funding for transit in the next COVID-19 relief package—and your stories can help get us there.


If you are a transit worker or rider, please tell us your story

Step 1 of 2

  • If you are a bus or train operator or other frontline transit worker, do you have the personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to stay safe at work? If you are a transit rider, are buses and trains crowded or is social distancing possible? If you are in transit management, what hurdles are you facing to obtain PPE, and is your lack of funding forcing you to consider layoffs or long-lasting service cuts?

5 Comments

  1. Sheila

    6 months ago

    Praying everyday for me, my family, passenger and the American people. Its a high risk, however I trust God honor my prays and working it all out.

  2. Lindsay Freeze

    6 months ago

    More funding needs to be made available to ensure buses and trains are still running because they are a lifeline for so many people in this state. Riders need to have enough buses and trains available to practice social distancing, and drivers need to have the proper equipment and to protect them as hazard workers at this time. They should get hazard pay, aa they are essential workers in the frontline providing a necessary service during this pandemic. RTD is a lifeline and is essential at all times, especially now. Riders and drivers need to be confident buses will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, our health and safety is top priority, and that buses and trains will continue to operate.

  3. Helen Bennett

    6 months ago

    I am an essential Monday through Friday worker who takes public transportation in Baltimore City. The limited bus services and the shortage of bus operators, of which, is due to the states mandated daily screenings, places us all between a rock and a hard place. My daily commute buses are overly crowded especially with the senior/disabled front sections roped off. It is a daily struggle to fight my way on and off the buses with passengers blocking the exit doors. Not all passengers are wearing face coverings. Since the fares have been waived there are more riders than normal. A few operators try to keep the buses from overloading by passing up folks with no guarantee that future buses won’t do the same. To be placed in the position of no social distancing five days a week is definitely worrisome.

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